Hydroplane

The Sound of Changing Places

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AllMusic Review by

It's hard not to love the Cat's Miaow's fragile, windswept pop miniatures, but the band's ambient space pop alter ego, Hydroplane, is a different animal altogether. Most reminiscent of early Stereolab, particularly in vocalist Kerrie Bolton's similarities to Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, their ice-cool soundscapes fail to make much of an emotional impact, a disconnect the Cat's Miaow never suffers. For The Sound of Changing Places, Bolton and partner Andrew Withycombe largely forsake the sweet melodicism of their past efforts; only "International Exiles," not coincidentally dedicated to Cat's Miaow-mate Bart, lodges in the memory without prolonged exposure, instead favoring weightless, sterile electronic bleeps and drones that only occasionally belie their humanity. The record's highlights, "Kangaroo and Map" and "World Without You," combine analog buzzing with an acoustic guitar lead to appealingly recall the Cat's Miaow's finest efforts -- they're ones to grow on.